Why Wool? Woven in Time
We were thrilled to be invited to the film “woven in time” by The Woolmark Company, which follows the history of Australian Merino wool production in Yorkshire, and the manufacturing processes involved in wool fabric production. With interviews from businesses thriving today due to the resurgence of wool and their importance in the wool industry.
The film has been shared with over 200 key industry and opinion leaders at screenings in Salts Mill, Yorkshire – the historic wool mill location where some of the filming took place, and at Australia House – to highlight the origin of the Merino wool fibre.
The UK landscape was built primarily from the wealth of wool when the production of fabric for the army and suiting industry reached millions of metres per month. Wool production in the UK survived war, revolution, and social upheaval, and was almost lost to the introduction and escalation of man-made fibres.
Due to the raised awareness of people caring for the planet, and looking to reduce plastic and synthetic fibre waste that clogs up the land and oceans, thankfully wool is now making a comeback as it becomes known that it biodegrades and releases valuable nutrients in both the land and oceans.
NATURAL: Wool is a protein fibre formed in the skin of sheep, and is thus one hundred percent natural, not man-made. Since the Stone Age, it has been appreciated as one of the most effective forms of all-weather protection known to man, and science is yet to produce a fibre which matches its unique properties.
RENEWABLE: As long as there is grass to graze on, every year sheep will produce a new fleece; making wool a renewable fibre source. Woolgrowers actively work to safeguard the environment and improve efficiency, endeavouring to make the wool industry sustainable for future generations.
BIODEGRADABLE: At the end of its useful life, wool can be returned to the soil, or the marine environment where it decomposes, releasing valuable nutrients into the ground/ocean. When a natural wool fibre is disposed of in soil or water, it takes a very short time to break down, whereas most synthetics and plastics are extremely slow to degrade, if at all.
NATURAL INSULATOR: Wool is a hygroscopic fibre. As the humidity of the surrounding air rises and falls, the fibre absorbs and releases water vapour. Heat is generated and retained during the absorption phase, which makes wool a natural insulator. Used in the home, wool insulation helps to reduce energy costs and prevents the loss of heat energy to the external environment, thus reducing carbon emissions.
BREATHABLE: Wool fibres are crimped, and when tightly packed together, form millions of tiny pockets of air. This unique structure allows it to absorb and release moisture vapour – either into the atmosphere or via perspiration from the wearer – without compromising its thermal efficiency. Wool has a large capacity to absorb moisture vapour (up to 30 per cent of its own weight) next to the skin, making it extremely breathable, and comfortable to wear in extremes and changes of temperature.
MULTI-CLIMATIC/TRANSEASONAL: Thanks to its hygroscopic abilities, wool constantly reacts to changes in body temperature, maintaining its wearer’s thermophysical comfort in both cold and warm weather.
RESILIENT & ELASTIC: Wool fibres resist tearing and are able to be bent back on themselves over 20,000 times without breaking. Due to its crimped structure, wool is also naturally elastic, and so wool garments have the ability to stretch comfortably with the wearer, but are then able to return to their natural shape, making them resistant to wrinkling and sagging. Wool maintains its appearance in the longer term, adding value to the product, reduces the requirement for excessive laundering and its lifespan.
ODOUR RESISTANT: Wool is far more efficient than other textiles at absorbing sweat and releasing it into the air, before bacteria has a chance to develop and produce unpleasant body odour.
EASY CARE: The protective waxy coating on the wool fibres makes wool products resistant to staining and they also pick up less dust as wool is naturally anti-static. Recent innovations, in white goods and wool treatments, mean wool items are no longer hand-wash only. Many wool products can now be machine-washed and tumble dried.
A SAFE SOLUTION: Wool is naturally safe. It is not known to cause allergies and does not promote the growth of bacteria. It can even reduce floating dust in the atmosphere, as the fibre’s microscopic scales are able to trap and hold dust in the top layers until vacuumed away. Thanks to its high water and nitrogen content, wool is naturally flame-retardant, and has a far higher ignition threshold than many other fibres, will not melt and stick to the skin causing burns, and produces less noxious fumes that cause death in fire situations. Finally, wool also has a naturally high level of UV protection, which is much higher than most synthetics and cotton.
For more about the Campaign for Wool, click here.
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